|Bristol Renaissance Faire|
Jousting at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, 2006
|Dates||July - September|
|Location(s)||Bristol, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, United States|
Bristol Renaissance Faire ("Bristol") is a Renaissance fair held in a Renaissance-themed park in the village of Bristol, Wisconsin. It recreates a visit of Queen Elizabeth I to the English port city of "Bristol" in the year 1574. The faire runs for the nine weekends from early July through Labor Day.
In 1988, the Shapiros sold the fair to Renaissance Entertainment Corporation, having created a second incarnation of the King Richard's Faire in Carver, Massachusetts. The original King Richard's Faire was re-opened that year as the "Bristol Renaissance Faire". The reigning monarch became Queen Elizabeth I rather than the fictional "King Richard", and the year was set at 1574. At that time, the fair played seven weekends and drew over 200,000 visitors annually, thus placing it among the highest attended in the world. Renaissance faire staples such as jousting tournaments, historical reenactments, and stage shows continue.
The Bristol Faire's proximity to Chicago enabled the artistic directors to bring improv comedy teachers from The Second City and The Players Workshop, including instructor and director Eric Forsberg, who taught improvised interactive street theater techniques until 1997, and Ron Scot Fry, who was artistic director from 1989 until 2008.
The Mud Show, Dirk & Guido: The Swordsmen, and Moonie the Magnificent have won awards from The Annual Renaissance Festival Awards.
Journalist Neil Steinberg said of the Bristol Renaissance Faire: "If theme parks, with their pasteboard main streets, reek of a bland, safe, homogenized, whitebread America, the Renaissance Faire is at the other end of the social spectrum, a whiff of the occult, a flash of danger and a hint of the erotic. Here, they let you throw axes. Here are more beer and bosoms than you'll find in all of Disney World."